Windows XP

Save login credentials for mapped drives/RPC Outlook

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This article will help you with saving passwords in Windows in order to eliminate being prompted over and over for your login information when attempting to access mapped drives, file shares, or your Hosted Exchange account. *Note that NTLM Auth is required for the RPC connection. Also, this WILL NOT WORK in Windows Home Editions.

->Using the Run command, type in “control keymgr.dll” without the quotes.

In this area you are able to add/save usernames and passwords for any domain/workgroup including using the mail server for your Hosted Exchange account.

Example when adding a credential:
-server.domain.local or server or hostname.domain.com (If all else fails, use *.domain.com or *.domain.local then login, click Save Password one more time and it will work!)
-domain\username or email address
-password

Hope this helps.

Quickbooks crashes upon opening

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Of course it does. Check Google, support forums, Intuit KB, no mention. I would answer a few forum threads if it wasn’t so difficult to do on the Intuit site. I found this issue at a client in Quickbooks Enterprise 9 and 10. Awesome.

Faulting application: qbwin32.exe
Faulting module ntdll.dll

Anyway, just delete the 1KB (possibly hidden) “Company Name.ND” file located alongside the .QBW company file you use. Quickbooks opens just fine again.

I made the mistake of uninstalling Quickbooks, removing .NET and reinstalling the whole deal. Don’t bother.

Note to Intuit: Don’t let your crappy program crash so often. An error stating “the .ND file is corrupt or unreadable. Please remove it and try opening Quickbooks again.” would be nice.

You can also try running the “reboot.bat” file located in the Quickbooks program directory. It re-registers several DLLs among other things.

Migrate existing Windows installation to new hardware

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*This is a work in progress. Please provide comments and updates to this guide. If you find something that was not covered or have a better way to perform a step, add it! Notice the notes and article links at the bottom…

Here is what we do:

  1. Boot to the source PC if possible. In Device Manager, change the IDE/SATA controller driver to a “Standard IDE Controller”. This only needs to be done for controllers that the boot drive is connected to. Additional RAID controllers can be ignored.
  2. If the source PC is an Intel based chipset, check to make sure there are no Intel services set to start automatically. Disable all Intel services or you will get a blue screen on the new machine.
  3. Clone the original drive to a new one. We prefer Ghost for simplicity. Acronis is good, too.
  4. Plug in the new drive to the destination PC and boot the machine. You should be able to go right into normal mode. If not, try safe mode and look for drivers or services that you can remove to get booted fully. If you cannot boot into either mode, a repair install is an option. This will take a bit more time, but will still save you from reinstalling all applications, etc.
  5. Installed the needed drivers for your new hardware and you are done. Often you will be required to Activate Windows.

This works about 80% of the time. One problem we haven’t been able to fix is with boards that already have a RAID array on-board and you want to move to a new system with a different RAID controller. It depends on the situation, but with a mirror (typically software), you can clone a single drive then recreate a mirror after the fact on the new system.

And lastly, before you spend 5 hours trying to get it to work, just reinstall Windows :)

*Check out this article for a thorough look at the process. There are several additional steps listed on how to modify the boot.ini with different HALs AND how to pre-install drivers for the new hardware.

*Here is a KB article I found at MS called: How to move a Windows installation to different hardware. It covers doing a backup of the source computer then a restore to new hardware AFTER a reinstall of Windows. More time consuming, but it may be worth a look.

Schedule a Defrag using Group Policy

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1. First, paste the below into a batch file. It will schedule a defrag on the C: drive every Sunday at 12:00 AM and run it under the SYSTEM account. Save it somewhere like “C:\defrag.bat”:
schtasks.exe /create /SC WEEKLY /D SUN /TN Weekly-Defrag /TR “defrag %systemdrive% -f” /ST 00:00:00 /RU SYSTEM

2. Open Server Management or use “gpedit.msc”. Expand the domain until you find the OU containing all client machines you want to include.

3. Right-click the OU and choose “Create and Link a GPO Here…”. Name it “Weekly Defrag”.

4. Right-click the new policy and Edit. Browse to Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Scripts -> Startup.

5. Double-click “Startup”. Click Add and browse to the location of your defrag.bat file. Leave Script Parameters blank and click OK.

6. Run a “gpupdate /force” on a client PC. Once it finishes, verify that there is a new Weekly Defrag Scheduled Task. You can even run the new task to make sure it is going to work.

All done! All machines in the above OU will run a scheduled weekly defrag. Give the machines up to an hour to update GPO automatically.

Essential Windows Utils

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I will start with the best one…I finally found a window resizing utility that matches the awesomeness of KDE and Gnome. Be sure to read the notes on how the author uses the program then get it here

Next up is a great addition that allows you to mouse-wheel without clicking on an active window – link

And a tasbkar button tabulator – link

(These all work in 64-bit Windows, too)

Schedule a Windows Server Restart

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There are many ways to do this, one of them is to simply use the built in shutwn command. However, if you want to schedule a reboot more than 10 minutes in the future, it will not suffice.

We can use the PsShutdown utility for more control…

Download and extract the psshutdown.exe file to any location on your system. Here is the command I use:
psshutdown.exe -r -f -c -t 22:00 /accepteula

This will do a forced restart at 10 PM, accepting the EULA and allowing a logged in user to cancel the shutdown if needed.

Checkout other Sysinternals PsTools for more useful utilities.

*Update: Download the PsShutdown util + a small batch file here. Just extract the folder anywhere on your machine and run the batch file to schedule a restart.

Repairing Windows XP in Eight Commands

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Below is quoted from the original article (Click here to read more):

Most of us have seen it at one time or another; perhaps on our own PC, the PC of a loved one, or perhaps a PC at your place of employment. The system spends weeks or months operating in a smooth fashion, taking you to the far reaches of the wide, wibbly web, and after one particularly late evening of browsing and gaming, you shut your PC off and go to bed. Millions of people across the globe do just this every night, but a few of us have turned our PCs on the next day not to the standard Windows XP loading screen, but instead this dreaded error:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

\\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\CONFIG\\SYSTEM

Backup and Restore Windows XP Activation

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When you activate Windows XP, Microsoft stores the data in the Windows Product Activation database files wpa.dbl and wpa.bak in the folder %systemroot%\system32. If you change the motherboard or make significant hardware changes, XP will require you to reactive. But if you plan to reinstall XP on the same hardware, you can back up the activation status and then restore it after you reinstall and avoid the activation process. You can backup the Windows Product Activation database files to diskette. They are very small. A directory listing from my XP Pro workstation:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>dir wp*
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 8447-0571

Directory of C:\WINDOWS\system32

10/24/2001  08:28 PM            12,584 wpa.bak
01/14/2002  09:05 AM            12,642 wpa.dbl

After you reinstall XP, to restore the Windows Product Activation database files:

  • Start XP to Minimal Safe mode
  • Change directory to the \%systemroot%\system32 folder
  • Rename the newly created wpa.dbl to wpa.nonactivated and wpa.bak, if it exists, to wpabak.nonactivated.
  • Copy your backed up wpa.dbl and wpb.bak files to the system32 folder
  • Reboot

This should work if you want to avoid activating XP after a reinstall or restore on the same or very similar hardware. It will not work if the hardware is significantly different from that in place when the Windows Product Activation database files were created. This is not a hack to avoid activating installations.

Original Article: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/WindowsXP/UserTips/Miscellaneous/BackupRestoreXPActivation.html

After a Windows Update, programs like Quickbooks (and others that rely on the .NET framework) will not open

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This issue seems to have appeared in April, 2008. The .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 automatic update fails to install and breaks the original install. After this happens, any programs that rely on .NET will not open. In this case I have fixed three machines that were unable to open QuickBooks. It would simply begin to open and close with no errors. Trying to remove or repair the version on the PC will fail saying the  install source is unavailable. The .NET SP1 has been out for a long time now and I have seen it fail to install many times, but only recently have I seen it begin to break the original version.

Here is how to fix it…

1. Download and install the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301
http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/9/d/e9d80355-7ab4-45b8-80e8-983a48d5e1bd/msicuu2.exe

2. Look on the root of the Start Menu for “Windows Install Clean Up” and run it. You will see a list of installed programs. Simply highlight the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 application and click Remove.

3. Download the .NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable and install it
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0856EACB-4362-4B0D-8EDD-AAB15C5E04F5&displaylang=en

4. Download the .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1 and install it. Restart when prompted.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=79BC3B77-E02C-4AD3-AACF-A7633F706BA5&displaylang=en

That’s it. You should now be able to use your .NET applications again!

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